I'm just home from a lovely morning spent with three Grade Five classes at Terry Fox Elementary School in Pierrefonds.
One of the first students I met was named Sophie (that is her sitting near me in today's first pic). I couldn't help noticing the booboos on her cheek and chin. Because I'm me, I had to ask Sophie, "What happened?" She explained she'd had a sledding accident yesterday. I'm telling you all this because I used the incident to show the students three things: 1) that writers tend to be snoopy; 2) that writers need to do research; and 3) that trouble makes for good stories.
In today's pics, you can see the first of the two groups I met, and also a boy named Brandon (from my second group) who is wearing a sweatshirt with a great slogan on it. His sweatshirt says: "Trouble finds me."
I did advise the students to stay out of trouble -- but if trouble comes knocking, to USE IT IN THEIR STORIES!
We also talked about secrets and I asked students if they could think of good ways to get people to share their secrets. Savannah suggested, "Make them feel trusted." I thought that was a really good answer! I explained that in order to get someone to tell me a secret, I often start off by telling them a secret of my own!
There was time for a writing exercise with both groups. A student named Justin came to chat with me after the exercise. He told me, "My character started talking to me!" I have to say that this made me super happy. That's what happens to real-life authors too! We can hear our characters talking in our heads. It sounds strange, but trust me, when it happens, it's a good thing!
You may know that I am always observing students (in my own classes and also when I do school visits). This is because I am always looking for interesting DETAILS to include in my stories. Here are some I found today: a student named Ashley who raised her arm perfectly straight; a student named Trista whose name I like (maybe I'll use it in my next story -- that okay with you, Trista?); and a girl named Reanna who had a yellow bandage wrapped around her wrist (it turned out not be an injury, but instead a gift from her best friend Nica, who, as it happened, was injured by a car door this weekend and had been using the yellow bandage to hold two of her fingers together.... I know all this because I asked, of course! See what I mean about snoopy?)
What really counts is whether the students learned stuff today and whether they had fun while they were learning, but you know what? I had fun and learned cool stuff myself. Many thanks to principal Mrs. Rampone for inviting me to Terry Fox; and to teachers Mrs. Hall, Miss Tara and Miss Aloe, for sharing your lovely students with me!
(PS: I almost forgot to tell you that my visit today ended on a lovely note. That's because on the students' way out of the classroom, I got a surprise hug from Sabrina! Thanks, Sabrina -- I needed that!!)
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That's a lot of happy faces, Secret Person! Now are you ready to start writing YOUR book?!!
So now I will tell you my name it's.....Massimo. I gave you all those happy faces because you earned it and I did start a book of my own.